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  • Writer's pictureHollis Robbins

Interviewing for the CIA

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

1985, was a year of fun stories for me. I found my old file of applications materials for the CIA. I was not supposed to keep copies of everything, but I did anyway.


What a candid young person I was at 22, the evidence shows. It seems that the CIA kept testing me and talking to me. I took all sorts of texts. Language tests. Logic tests. Personality tests. I went down to Langley twice for various interviews. I had a very long polygraph, perhaps five hours or so. I was candid about "experimentation" with controlled substances in college. Asked about "circumstances" I simply put "wedding" and "beach party." Actually I realize now my experience was pretty tame comparatively.


How many influential politicians did I meet in 1985? Many many, it turned out. I had landed an internship at the ABC News London bureau in January 1985. My assignment was the research desk where I researched stories and read journals like Jane's Defense Weekly. I was invited to go to Geneva in March to help support the ABC coverage team of the US-USSR Arms Talks. We stayed in the in Hotel Intercontinental, which I think was the same hotel in which the Soviet delegation was staying. I rode in the elevators with a dozen or more Senators : Kennedy, Paul Simon, Richard Lugar (who was very nice) and many others. Chernenko died suddenly on March 10, and I found myself scrambling to collect officials to bring them to the ABC News studio before they went to the other networks. It was thrilling work for 6 days straight, no rest. Here's a letter to prove it. (I went by Holly back then.)



Looking now, the commendation letter is pretty fantastic though, it seems to be misdated. We were there in March 1985, not March 1984.


I returned to NH sometime in June and began working at several local TV stations and writing for the Telegraph, all while interviewing with the CIA over several months. Then the Paisley episode. Reagan visited NH later that fall and I somehow found myself meeting Jeane Kirkpatrick and asking for her autograph. Somewhere I still have it.


It must have seemed suspicious that some 22 year old from NH kept finding herself in rooms and elevators and studios and tents with notable politicians. It seemed normal to me but ultimately I received a brief note from the CIA that said "sorry no thank you" or something. I can't find that note. Did they do the right thing turning me down, candid young person that I was?


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